UK Inflation Shoots Higher, British Pound Soars


Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that United Kingdom inflation accelerated more-than-expected to 2.3% in February from 1.8% in January.

Higher inflation, outpacing interest-rate rises and keeping borrowing costs down, is a vital part of the story behind this.

'Their forecasts predict a slowdown in coming months so the last thing that they want to deal with is inflation being above target, ' he said.

"Carney's indication that a rate rise is as likely as a cut highlights that the BoE are stuck between their desire to ease in the face of Brexit headwinds, and the need to tighten to keep inflation down".

On this occasion, however, the ONS will promote CPIH - a measure that includes owner-occupiers' housing costs - to be the main measure of inflation in its statistical bulletins.

Stephen Clarke, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, says, 'After 38 months inflation is back above the Bank's target, bringing to an end the era of ultra-low inflation that has boosted living standards in recent years.

British government futures fell around 30 ticks to 125.60, down 67 ticks on the day.

Last year's Brexit vote triggered a steep decline in the pound, which has significantly ramped up the cost of importing goods - and oil in particular, which is priced in dollars. Furthermore, global oil prices have risen, adding to the squeeze on the spending power of households.

This bias towards the borrowers is also necessitated by the still-fragile state of some institutions that have lent to them, notably still struggling RBS, the UK's biggest bank.

Overall food prices lifted 0.8 per cent between January and February, in contrast to a smaller rise of 0.1 per cent a year earlier, after shock weather conditions in southern Europe ravaged crops and left supermarkets and restaurants grappling with a vegetable shortage.

United Kingdom consumer prices rose 0.8% in February compared with consensus forecasts of a 0.5% gain.

However, that stance could be tested if inflation moves beyond being just currency driven and there's a pickup in domestic price pressures.

Prices paid by factories for materials and energy surged with the cost of crude oil, nearly doubling from a year earlier.

'The latest public finances data show that the government remains on course to meet the Office for Budget Responsibilities forecast for 2016/17 made in the Spring Budget, with public borrowing declining again in February.

"The weakness in sterling that occurred in the aftermath of the European Union vote continued to make itself felt in consumer prices and housing costs throughout February". With one month left to go, borrowing for the financial year so far was £47.8bn.